The value of English literature at GCSE (really? do we even need to argue this?)

Last week, Owen Sheers rightly drew attention to the perilous consequences of removing English Literature as a core subject from GSCE requirements in Wales:

I was asked to share my two penneth in a BBC Radio interview for Good Evening Wales. You can listen to the entire story below (my contribution starts at 01:40).

For those of you who asked, here’s the exact wording and full reference for the Irish Murdoch quotation I used:

Prose literature can reveal an aspect of the world which no other art can reveal, and the discipline required for this revelation is par excellence the discipline of this art. And in the case of the novel, the most important thing to be thus revealed, not necessarily the only thing, but incomparably the most important thing, is that other people exist. (Murdoch, 1959, p. 267)

Murdoch, Iris (1959) ‘The Sublime and the Beautiful Revisited’, Yale Review, 49, 247-71. (Full text available here:


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